My First TALIA Post

“Gospel-governed Freedom”

Lately, I have been spending much time (likely too much time) thinking about next year and all of the options that rest on the table that is my future. You see, I have been told “you are an American”: I have been encouraged to pursue the many things I would like to do, because I have the “freedom” to do so, but I know there is a Governor over this “freedom” who wants me to make decisions based on a different reality. As a result, I have begun to evaluate my motives that would lead me to pursue these different options, and have found some to be positive, and others to be completely self-centered and self-motivated. Yet, I cannot help but think that there is really only one driving motive that should hold any weight on my decisions. All “future” decisions, no matter what they be (i.e. school, job, church), should be made to serve others and advance the Gospel. There are some decisions that are huge, and others not so huge, but none of them should be made out of my own self-interested pursuits.
The words of Margaret Manning have encouraged me in this regard: “ In the West, freedom rules the day. In general, we are free to do and to be whatever we want. We move unhindered towards the achievement of our own personal freedoms and objectives, without worrying about impediment or coercive control from outside forces. In fact, we rarely worry about the consequences to others in the exercise of our freedom. Certainly, we enjoy the privilege of the freedom to move about our country across state borders effortlessly. We have the freedom to worship, unhindered by government intervention or surveillance. Many of us who have financial abundance are able to access freedoms that only money can buy. We are free to think as we want, speak what we want, and do what we want. In comparison with people in other countries, we have the freedom to….[ fill in the blank with endless possibilities].”
Our ideas of freedom to pursue whatever we could want or desire, even for Christians, recurrently lose their securing from the Biblical dock. We think of freedom in terms of personal rights, and fail to remember that the biblical ideal is freedom for the service of others and advancement of the Gospel.
Take for example, the apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian church while they were in the midst of conflict concerning their personal freedoms: “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his or her own good, but that of his or her neighbor….whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:23-24, 31).
Paul’s definition of freedom for the sake of the Gospel and for serving others seems to go against the grain of our culture. Through a Biblical lens, freedom is no longer defined as doing whatever one wants to do. And while we are properly disgusted when human respect and freedom are entirely taken away–as we have seen numerous times throughout history– we, as Christians, should also have a distaste for the often self-centered grasp of freedom present in Western culture. We are called to freedom, Paul reminds us, not so we can squander it on our own self-interested pursuits, but that through love we can make good use of our freedom for the sake of one another and for the gospel. We have been set free by the gospel to use that freedom for the gospel.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thejambi
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 16:52:25

    Wow, what a writer you are.

    Reply

  2. SGRWebster
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 19:09:06

    I totally know Margaret Manning. I met her last summer.

    Reply

  3. alymc
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 00:41:43

    No way! That’s sick!

    Reply

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